Chicken Choosin’ Time

It is that time of year again – time to start CHICKEN CHOOSIN’!  Every year we decide what kind of chickens to add to our flock.  After several visits from a neighbor’s fox last summer and fall we have lots of room in the coop.

Right now, we have Buff Orpingtons, a Barred Rock and some Easter Egger mixes.  Unfortunately, sly Mr. Fox nabbed Edgar (he was such a cool rooster!  RIP Eddie) and we were forced to hatch a clutch of eggs at the most inopportune time of the year – late fall.

We hatched half a dozen little babes and with any luck we will get an Edgar 2.0 to watch over our flock.  (Cross your fingers!)

That being said, we still want a few more birds to keep these guys company and to mix up the gene pool a little!  That means it is time to start surfing the internet for the best birds to add to our backyard flock.

Chicken Choosin’ – How

Before I choose a breed of chicken I need to decide what I want.  We are one of ‘those families’ who can eat the animals in their yard so we need a bird that is large enough to make a decent meal.  We also do like to have eggs.  And oh the eggs….  Those month old eggs you get from the grocery store are NOTHING compared to FRESH, pasture raised chicken eggs.  But don’t trust me, find someone with a small flock of backyard birds and get yourself some eggs.  You won’t be sorry….

So anyway, we are looking for a dual purpose bird. Cool!  There are a few chicken selectors on the internet that can help you decide what kind of birds to get.  Here are a couple:

My Pet Chicken Chicken Breed Selector

Murray McMurray Chick Selector

Backyard Chickens Breed Selector *my personal favorite

So, I want some eggs, a larger bodied bird and I live in Northern Michigan so I can count out some of the more delicate breeds.

Isn’t he GORGEOUS!  Alas, he is a thin blooded fella and would never survive the cold North wind.

So, with the cold hardy birds selected and a preference for large body birds that are fairly reliable egg layers I am looking through a list of 13 breeds.  Now it is time to narrow down the list a bit more.

I need friendly chickens.  We had a rooster once that turned mean.  His name was Dot, but once we found his replacement he quickly became Stew (actually roasted, but lets not go there..)  So a mean chicken has no place in our backyard so I need a breed that is fairly docile.  And of course pretty.  I don’t want to look at boring white birds.  Chickens are walking lawn ornaments!

The chicken choosin’ is done!

As I sort through the list I think this is the breed that will most likely find a way into the Lil’ Red Coop.

Silver Laced Wyandotte Rooster

Colombian Wyandotte rooster and hens

 

Golden Lace Wyandotte rooster

The Wyandotte is a breed of chicken originating in the United States. The first examples of the breed appeared in the 1870s. Wyandottes are a docile, dual-purpose breed kept for their brown eggs and for meat. They appear in a wide variety of color patterns, and are popular show birds. The Wyandotte lays pale brown or tan eggs and usually has a white ring of feathers around its neck. Wyandotte hens are devoted mothers.

Chicken Choosin’ for fun

And I am a sucker for a fun looking bird, so out of pure whimsy I may look at some of these funny breeds:

And some more of these fun guys – easter eggers. A rainbow of egg colors with cute puffy cheeks!

Wouldn’t it be fun to have these fun muppets running through the yard?

I can’t wait until spring has sprung enough to get a peeping box of fun from the Post Office!  Heck, we may even bust out the ‘ole incubator if we can find some unique eggs from friends.signature